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September 12, 2013

BP’s Disgrace on 9/11

by: Joseph F. Rice

As American citizens spent yesterday honoring the memory of the brave souls who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of 9/11, it was very disheartening and outright offensive that BP sought to use Sept. 11th to again attack our judicial system.

The cowardly acts on September 11, 2001, that took thousands of innocent lives will forever be ingrained in our memory. On 9/11, we are thankful for the selfless bravery of all the firefighters, police men and women and emergency rescue workers who saved thousands of lives. On 9/11, we live with the stark reminder that more than 1,000 are now living with cancer due to their exposure to toxic dust, fumes, smoke and particles at the wreckage sites. On 9/11, we are reminded of the horrific terror, but also of the resiliency of this great country.

Yet yesterday, on 9/11, I was outraged to find that BP purchased full page ads in major New York City newspapers in an attempt to provide a self-serving, financial spin on the report released by Former Director and Federal Judge Louis Freeh in his investigation of the Deepwater Horizon Claims Center. Judge Freeh found in an organization of more than 4,000 employees, that yes, there were a few employees who failed to perform up to expected ethical standards. He has referred that matter to the Court, and the Court will deal with it appropriately.

However, what Judge Freeh also found is that Claims Administrator Patrick Juneau has done a good job of implementing sound corporate governance, guidelines, conflict checks and follow-up on the day-to-day operations of the Center. Judge Freeh found that Mr. Juneau had already identified and was in the process of investigating the misconduct when BP decided to take it to the press. Judge Freeh also rejected the specific request by BP that the claims process be interrupted as he found no basis whatsoever that the misconduct had been rampant or deeply rooted into the system.

As if BP’s actions to date haven’t been demonstrative enough of its character, yesterday’s actions, on 9/11, truly showed what type of corporation it really is.

The 9/11 families need our continued support, and BP was unable to put aside their antics for one day out of respect to all of the fallen, the 9/11 survivors and the 9/11 families. BP is not committed to the Gulf. BP is not committed to justice. BP is only committed to BP.